Chrysler to Introduce 9-speed Transmissions

Chrysler Group has said that alongside the more widespread adoption of 8-speed transmissions, it’s also planning to introduce 9-speed units next year.

Since its restructuring Chrysler hasn’t invested a great deal in alternative powertrains or downsized engines, instead relying on more gears to boost fuel economy. Such an approach requires less of an investment than developing EVs or plug-in hybrids and so far, appears to be working in Chrysler’s favor.

“They’re getting tremendous differentiation from their old product,” remarked Alan Baum, an auto industry forecaster with West Bloomfield, Mich. based Baum & Associates who also collaborates with HybridCars.com on its monthly Dashboard.

The introduction of 8-speed transmission has boosted the popularity of certain Chrysler models, including V6-powered 300 and Dodge Charger sedans, sales of which are up 68 percent in 2012, due to advertised 31 miles per gallon combined fuel ratings from the EPA.

However, some say there are limits to just how much more efficiency Chrysler can squeeze out of transmissions with more gears. The North American president of transmission maker ZF, Julio Caspari said in a recent interview with Automotive News, that there is just an 11-percent differentiation between today’s transmissions and a theoretically “perfect” unit.

With Fiat’s troubles in Europe, CEO Sergio Marchionne’s strategy toward meeting proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy targets has so far proved to be a prudent one (with $1.3 billion invested in transmission development since 2007).

That said; it will be interesting to see just how far it can go and if it does indeed prove to be a worthwhile option versus heavier investment in EV and hybrid technology, which so far, hasn’t provided significant returns for many automakers.

Bloomberg


  • Al Bunzel

    Some of these automakers just don’t get it.

    They think they have to reinvent the wheel with EV and hybrid technology when there are companies that have done it already.

    They should simply approach those companies that have done it already and leverage of them. They might have to pay a royalty for every ev/hybrid produced, but it will save them a lot of R&D time and money.

    Many of the parts are available off the shelf. There are a number of people who do their own Electric Car Conversion.
    You only have to look at http://www.evalbum.com to see how ordinary people can do an EV conversion whilst many established automakers seem to struggle.

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    thank’z gan…
    They think they have to reinvent the wheel with EV and hybrid technology when there are companies that have done it already.